Mental Health Awareness

Gaston County Schools Support Services

GCS Cares About Your Mental Health!

One in five people suffers from mental illness every year. Based on the population of Gaston County, that is approximately 31,000 friends, neighbors, and loved ones living with a mental illness—who may not know it or how to handle it. People may expect a person with mental illness to look and act different from others, and they may tell someone who doesn't "look ill" to "get over it" through willpower. These misconceptions add to the challenges of living with a mental health condition. Millions of people with a mental illness live successful lives. The key is knowing help is available.

Did you know that Gaston County Schools has MANY resources to help support our students', staff, and families' mental health? Many of our students and their families are affected by mental illness. Mental illness is a medical condition that affects a person’s daily functioning. Mental illness can be found in all races, cultures, and income levels. In response to this, GCS strives to provide protections and resources to our students and families dealing with mental illness and emotional distress.

Licensed Professionals

We have licensed professional school counselors in every building who have been through rigorous graduate school training in supporting the social, emotional and academic development of students. Every school has access to a licensed school social worker, psychologist, and nurse who has also been trained in how to support the emotional well-being of students.

Mental Health First Aid

In response to those affected by mental illness in our schools, GCS has partnered with Partners Behavioral Health and other local agencies to offer Mental Health First Aid training to every staff member. This training provides staff with a better understanding of mental illness, promotes awareness, and helps reduce the stigma often associated with mental illness. It also helps staff members feel more comfortable talking to students about mental health.

Mental Health Services

The mental health services area within Student Support Services has grown significantly over the past few years. Mental health clinicians work collaboratively with school personnel and community agencies to provide intervention strategies to increase academic success and improve graduation rates, provide crisis intervention, and assist students in developing appropriate social interaction skills. Mental health clinicians also work diligently to serve students and families. In addition, The Mental Health Services within Student Support Services for GCS continues to expand services and supports for students. We currently employ two mental health clinicians to attend Child and Family Team meetings, transition meetings, and to provide consultations and referrals for students currently experiencing mental health issues.

School Based Therapy

GCS has partnered with several local mental health agencies to provide school based therapy services to students in every one of our schools. A therapist is assigned to each school and is able to provide counseling services during the school day. Agencies work with families to determine the best course of treatment for each individual.

Suicide Prevention Committee

We have a committee that focuses on suicide prevention and providing resources to our schools to support the well-being of our staff and students. Research based training is provided to every single staff member and student in GCS to help identify and help students at risk of self-harm.

Crisis Team

Gaston County Schools has a team of professionals made up of counselors, social workers, nurses, and mental health clinicians. This team operates off of a research based model to provide emergency services to a school during a time of crisis, such as student or staff member death.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP)-this is for GCS employees only

EAP and Work-Life Services are convenient, confidential, and provided at no cost to employees or members of their household for up to three sessions. They are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week; so, call anytime. You will have access to counseling, research and referrals, and legal and financial services. Gaston County Schools pays all costs for the first three sessions. 1-800-448-4358

Resources for this page were pulled from the GCS Mental Health website at

Never be embarrassed to ask for help...

"When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hand it on." -Thomas Jefferson

Please note that if you have a mental health emergency call 911 if it is after school hours. The Partners mobile crisis and information line for mental health services is 1-888-235-4673 and is in operation 24/7 by a licensed clinician.